Monday, September 20, 2010

Tag...I'm It?

Okay, I got tagged by Beth from Two Monkeys & A Washtub today. And since I have been COMPLETELY neglecting her and her blog for some time (I'm so sorry, Beth!!), I absolutely MUST participate in the game!

Apparently I am to answer 8 questions that she asked, and then list 8 new questions and tag 8 other bloggers. Well, right now I promise to answer the questions, but I'm not sure about the tagging part. Hopefully it's okay to just start with the first part of the process?? *puppy dog eyes*

So, without further are the questions Beth has asked:

1. What's your favorite children's storybook? (even those without kids have a favorite children's story)

Mine was always "The Secret Garden." I still love it!

2. If we went out for dinner & drinks, what would you order? depends on my mood. My go-to drink is a Seven & Seven, and sometimes a rum & Coke. But last night I was craving peach schnapps, so I ordered a Sex on the Beach; unfortunately, I am not sure what Danny's considers a Sex on the Beach, because this drink was NOT cranberry juice, peach schnapps, and/or vodka - it had pineapple juice, grenadine, and I don't even know what else. Not bad, but NOT at all what I wanted. I can guarantee you I wouldn't order beer....bleah. As for food, I tend to take FOREVER to order, and then I usually change something (think Meg Ryan in "When Harry Met Sally" sans the fake Generally, I will probably order something with grilled chicken and quite possibly a baked potato.

3. What's your favorite ice cream flavor? and why?

I love Pistachio-Almond. Why? I have no idea - have just always loved it.

4. If you had $500 to spend on yourself, where would you go shopping and what would you buy? You can't save it!

I'm going to assume I don't have to spend it all in one place. I would order a Fitbit online, because I really want one of those!! That's $99. Then I'd probably go to Hobby Lobby and buy some really cool yarn that I would never buy otherwise and some Swarovski crystal beads. Probably spend about $50 there. I would then go to Kohl's and spend the rest on clothes (I love Kohl's) and stuff for the kitchen. I'm a gadget junkie and love new stuff for the kitchen. Okay, I'm sure I've spent $500 by now!! :-)

5. Do you have any regrets or things you wish you had the chance to do over? If so, why?

Oh wow....this is a complete blog all its own, but probably something about which I would never, ever blog. There are soooo many things that I would love to do over! My kids and family are probably the one thing I wouldn't re-do!! lol

6. What sports do you enjoy? playing and/or watching? or playing/participating in back in high school?

I am a football junkie!! Give me the NFL or even some good college teams and I'm a happy girl. I have two fantasy football teams, and even though they both SUCK so far this year, I still enjoy playing. I can handle a little baseball now and then in small doses, and I really enjoy watching Gymnastics. But participating? Not me. Never have been into sports one little bit. Okay, there's a regret for you - I really wish I had learned to play some sort of sport....softball or tennis or something. I wish I could participate in a sport now, as I think that would be a fun activity and a great way to exercise and meet people.

7. If you could drive any car, what would you pick, and what color would it be?

A convertible. I don't care what kind...I just REALLLLLLLLLLY want a convertible. Color is even up in the air, but I've always had a thing for that teal-ish blue that is so rare and cool.

8. When you go grocery shopping, what's the one thing you tend to buy on impulse? You know that thing that looks so yummy that it has to be thrown in the cart?

For me, it isn't the item, exactly. It's the deal. If something is really a great price, that's what I buy on impulse. For instance, last week I was really sticking well to my list at HyVee. But then I wandered past the lunchmeat case and found sliced chicken marked down - 1 pound bags for $.99! I bought 9 of them because that was a steal!! I'm a sucker for mark-downs, even if we don't need the item!!

Well, there you go! More than you ever could possibly have wanted to know about me! And I'm not saying I won't come up with 8 questions and 8 bloggers later...just not tonight. Hey, I've already done two blog posts today. That's a big deal for me!! :-)

Jazzin' it up

Today I did something completely out-of-the-ordinary for me! I attended my first-ever Jazzercise class. I have a friend who has done it for a long time and she even works at her local location, and she talked me into giving it a try. About a month ago, had a special: $39 for 2 months of unlimited classes. I thought that was the best way to try it.

I have to say, it was FUN! The hour class went by so fast, and the instructor was really great and upbeat. She knew everyone by name and talked to us throughout the class, as well as calling out instruction. I was very impressed. The bad thing was that it was hard to mirror her movements, as she went FAST from one move to the next. I felt very uncoordinated and couldn't catch onto many of the movements during class. However, they tell you that it's okay to not "get" it - just keep moving, even if it's simply marching in place.

I did notice that there were a variety of levels of Jazzercise knowledge in my class, and after class, Michelle (the instructor) took time to talk to me. She told me that everyone else in the class was either a dancer (which helps tremendously in doing the movements) or has been Jazzercising for years. She told me that I did very well for my very first time (though I suspect she's supposed to say and even broke down a few of the especially difficult combinations to show me in slow-motion. That helped a lot! Now I can do the Grapevine just fine, but there are still others that are going to take a lot more practice.

I plan to try class again on Wednesday morning, and then on Friday. She told me that different classes have different combinations, so it might be interesting. I already expect to be completely lost! :-) At least I finally got up the nerve to try something different, though. And it was a fun time. Hopefully it will stay fun and I will keep at it. I could definitely use some regular exercise!!!

In other, more frugal news, I made laundry soap today. Haven't done that in awhile, since I got a really good deal on some Purex. But I had run out, and didn't want to go pay too much for it. I forgot how good the homemade stuff smells......

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Finale

Doesn't that look yummy?? Let me tell was G-O-O-D!! We had slices nice and warm and served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmmmmm!! And even better is the fact that I got to enjoy this pie knowing it was the LAST of the apples I had to process! That made it even sweeter!!

All told, from my brother's unwanted apple tree, I ended up with:

8 gallons of apple pie filling
8 quarts of unsweetened applesauce
6 quarts of sweetened applesauce
4.5 quarts of apple butter
That delicious apple pie

AND, I still passed along a LOT of apples to a friend! Three large boxes found a new home, and hopefully some new recipes for another family today. I just hope she doesn't hate me by the time she finishes processing allllll of those apples!

The work isn't the most fun thing to do, but enjoying the "fruits of my labors" for many months to come is wonderful. The kids absolutely LOVE my homemade applesauce, and I use the unsweetened variety for baking throughout the year. Considering that I add nothing but water to the unsweetened, it really is a "free" item, monetarily speaking. And it really is worth the effort.

So my freezers are now absolutely packed. I used up the last bit of space today with the deli chicken lunchmeat I found at HyVee for .99 a pound. I got 9 pounds of it and popped it into one of my freezers. That will last awhile, and the kids love sandwiches and soup for weekend lunches - score!

Apple season has ended here. Next up will be pumpkin...but we gotta eat some stuff first!! :-)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sort of a Post

I posted today on Not Just Leftovers, so I think that should count! :-) Okay, maybe it doesn't, but it's been a busy day and I'm tired and going to bed. So head over HERE for today's post! Have a wonderful tomorrow!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An Apple a Day

...or perhaps a couple bushel a day? I know I missed posting yesterday; I didn't forget, but I was just too exhausted to post. Yesterday I peeled, cored, and sliced a LOT of apples, cooked them down and pureed them into applesauce. I put 12 quarts in the freezer. Shortly after I was done with that, I cleaned up and made dinner, then dashed off to a school Room Parent Meeting, immediately followed by a PTA Meeting (I am the Recording Secretary). It was a very busy day!

Today I finished what I am going to do with the apples. I made about 5 quarts of apple butter and one huge and very yummy apple pie. I canned up the butter and it's very pretty in the jars. I had to can 4 pints, as I ran out of smaller jars. Guess we will be eating a lot of apple butter for awhile when we open those! Tonight I made angel biscuits with dinner so we could enjoy the butter...but I made a bit of an error. I was tired and in a hurry and I followed Paula Deen's recipe. I realized about halfway into it that I had forgotten this was a HUGE recipe and I needed to cut it in half. Oops. I ended up with way more biscuits than we can eat in a day! Guess we will be having biscuits and apple butter tomorrow, too! :)

I'm just going to keep this short and sweet tonight. I will try to post the how-I-make-applesauce post tomorrow. Tonight my brain just wants to go to bed, but I didn't want to miss two days in a row since I said I would post every day. I still owe you guys a post....I will try to make it a good one!

No signature tonight, either...I'm typing this on the netbook, which doesn't have any photo files. I'm really with it Have a great night!!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Apple Pie Filling

Lisa B. asked me about my recipes for my apple pie filling and applesauce. Today I started on the apples, but I only did one cooler full, as I have company coming for dinner tonight and much to do. So today's focus was on apple pie filling. I plan to do applesauce tomorrow and I will try to pay attention to my recipe, as I just make it....I don't follow a specific format. :-)

My apple pie filling is a bit unorthodox from what I can tell in looking at other recipes for filling. It was borne from trial and error, and it just works for me! A few years ago, I had apples from my brother's tree and I was making full apple pies, par-baking them, and freezing them for later. I got so tired of the process that I decided to try freezing a pie WITHOUT the par-baking step. I made the crust, formed the pie, wrapped it in foil, and popped it into the freezer, totally raw.

About a month later, I decided to try one of my un-cooked creations. I pulled it from the freezer and allowed it to thaw, then dabbed on a bit of butter, sliding it under the slits in the crust, and popped it into the oven. To my delight, it worked perfectly! The texture was just fine and the pie tasted wonderful...I couldn't really tell a difference between the pies I froze uncooked and the ones where I began the cooking process prior to freezing.

After this discovery, I took the pie-making process a step simpler. I made up the filling as if to put it into a crust, but then I put it in a ziploc bag instead. This way I could just make the dough and form the pie at the time I wanted to make it, which made the process longer at the actual baking stage, but so much easier on the front end doing the preparation. Since I had a LOT of apples, simplifying the prep made the most sense. As a result, I had apples that I used both for pie filling and for "fried" apples at dinner. I would simply remove a bag of pie filling, thaw it, and put it in a microwave-safe container (typically a Pyrex 8 cup glass measure). About 8 minutes on high and I had a great side dish that the kids loved and that tasted like I had just peeled them.

So, now that you have background on my out-of-the-ordinary freezer apple pie filling, here is how I do it now:

Into a gallon-size freezer bag, place the following: 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. flour, 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Shake lightly to combine.
Pour in 8 cups of peeled and sliced apples and seal the bag. Shake and toss to combine and evenly coat the apple slices.
Open the bag to release the air and re-seal the bag.
Freeze until ready to use.

To make the pie, thaw the filling. Lay bottom crust in pie plate, then fill with bag of filling. Dot with a couple of tablespoons of butter. Top with either a second crust or a struesel topping. Place in oven and bake at 425° for about 45 minutes, covering the edges of the crust if needed to prevent over-browning.

If you're interested, I've finished the round cooler of apples, and I have 8 gallon bags of apple pie filling in the freezer as I type. That's enough for now. Tomorrow I will focus on applesauce, and decide whether I want to freeze it or can it - I'm still not sure. Then I will make apple butter and see where I am. If I still have apples left, then I will make more pie filling. It's Apple Week at my house! :-) Happy autumn!!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Shake, Shake the Apple Tree

Did anyone else sing a silly song back in the early days of elementary school that went:
Shake, shake the apple tree
Apples red and rosy
Shake, shake the apple tree
Apples red and rosy
One for you, one for me
Shake, shake the apple tree

I remember singing that song with my friend Alberta waaaaay back when. I think maybe we were in first grade. Ah, the funny little memories that stay with you...

In my situation today, the apples are not red and rosy, though. They are nice and green, tart Granny Smith apples, and I have LOTS!! My brother lives about 40 minutes away and he has an apple tree in his backyard. For whatever bizarre reason, they will NOT eat the apples from the tree. I have to assume it is because the fruit is very much "organic" and tend to have patches of little brown speckles on them and some are not perfectly shaped, like the chemically-altered ones they buy in the store.

Since they loathe this poor tree and it's bountiful harvest, the kids and I drove over today to pick the tree. It's pretty tall, so a lot of shaking had to be done, as well. Apples were falling everywhere to be collected. I came home with two large coolers full, as well as 3 good-sized boxes and a large Target sack. I've seriously got some apples!!!

What does one do with such a mass quantity of apples, other than go insane and have nightmares of being buried under a pile of the little green balls? What I intend to do, and as I have done in the past, is make bags of apple pie filling and lots of applesauce for the freezer. I will also turn some into thick apple butter that I will can to eat over the next year or so. I love how the house smells while the butter cooks...and I've already had three people ask me if I would be willing to give them a jar or two. Apparently I've become a grandmother before my

I'm having company for dinner tomorrow, so I'm not sure I will get much processing done before Tuesday, but I will probably spend pretty much my entire days on Tuesday and Wednesday working with my gleaned fruit. I will likely cook my apple butter overnight on Tuesday so I can get it canned first thing on Wednesday. By the end of the week, I will have all sorts of relatively free food in my freezer and canned on the shelves. It's only going to cost me the sugar and seasonings.

Yes, these apples are sometimes imperfect, but once they've been peeled, cored, and sliced, nobody can tell the difference. And my kids think homemade applesauce is the BOMB!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Funny Thing About Blogging

I just realized that it's bedtime and I haven't blogged yet today. I did say I was going to post every day in September, so I figured I had better come up with a topic, and fast! :)

I've been a little bit amused in the past week or so. I'm finally making an effort to actually do something with this long-neglected blog, and yet I've been getting more unsubscription requests than I've seen before now! Isn't that funny? I post on my blog to increase interest and readership, and I'm losing subscribers.

Do people really subscribe to a blog to NOT get posts??? The world is a very strange place, and people never cease to amuse or amaze me. If you're still hanging around and reading my daily bizarre posts, thanks!! I will work harder to start blogging on more interesting topics. If you have any thoughts or ideas, leave a comment!!

That's it...short and sweet tonight. Tomorrow I'm guessing I will be blogging about apples. Stay tuned to find out why......

Friday, September 10, 2010

I am NOT Smarter than a Fifth Grader

Actually, there are a lot of questions that I get incorrect on that fun game show, but in this case, I am referring to the significant difference between being a fifth grader today and being that age when we old-timers were younger.

Remember when it was enough to answer a question by talking directly with a teacher? Or when writing a paragraph that was more than three sentences was considered going beyond the requirements? Life was so much simpler back then, and we still thought we had it tough in school.

Tonight, I've spent about the past two hours working on a project with my fifth grade daughter. She is applying to be in a particular club at school, and rather than just being able to raise her hand to say, "I want to join!" (that's what we did, right??), she is required to submit an application to show how creative and excited she is so she might get selected as a member of this group.

So, you might be wondering, what is it that we have to do? We have to make a DVD of her doing a mock video announcement presentation and interview for the school. I consider myself somewhat technologically savvy, but I do not have modern video equipment to make this as easy as it might sound. Rather, I have what I consider an older but still nice camera, a fairly modern computer, and your typical average DVD player.

Well, guess what? These three items might be great individually, but collectively they hate each other!!! The formats vary on each component, and trying to sync them together has been a total nightmare!! All I can say is thank goodness for Google! I tried a bunch of different searches and finally found a software that appeared to be safe that converted .avi files to files that could be read by a DVD player. So, I took the chance and downloaded it.

A test DVD was burned with some karaoke files I have stored on the computer. The files were converted and burned and with great trepidation, we took the DVD to the player. Squeals of delight were heard as the video came on the screen. It actually worked!!! Considering that this project is due on Monday, I am soooooooo thankful that we were able to make this work.

Of course, now we still have to create the video file of my daughter and locate the software on my computer (yeah, I always seem to have trouble finding them again!), convert that file and get it burned successfully. I only hope that it works that time, too. It just has HAS TO!

When did fifth graders have to become technology experts and DVD creators? I have a college degree, did pretty well on my ACTs, and can even keep up my end of a conversation about red zone offenses and fantasy football....but I am NOT smarter than a fifth grader!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Did You Know That I'm a Troublemaker??

I was actually mildly surprised to learn this today. And the saddest part about my status as a troublemaker is that the main situation that resulted in this realization was a time when I believed I was being helpful! Go figure!!

A little background on my alleged troublemaking: Our school district recently instituted a policy whereby no homemade treats are allowed during class parties. As you know if you read my blog post yesterday, I made a TON of cookies for a school function. An important point to note is that I specifically read the Official School District Policy on homemade treats. The policy is written to include ONLY treats made for the "classroom." I read it over and over and over again, and I was absolutely certain that this new policy was written for classroom treats. I know this, because that's what it SAYS!

Well, tonight I got lectured. Apparently even though the policy is specific, there is not a single non-packaged treat allowed beyond the school doors! The cookies were allowed to be served, but I was informed I was never to do that again. I would comment on the person doing the reprimand, but I do try to keep my blog family-friendly! ;-)

What's kind of funny about the whole thing is that I got several compliments on my "taboo" cookies. I even had a few scoff at the school policy. One guy told me, "screw it." lol Everyone LIKED my there, awful school policy!!

Yeah, it's fun to cause trouble sometimes. And guess what? I'm good at it!!!! I think I will keep at it....someone has to keep things interesting around here!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Death by Cookie

Well, maybe not quite, but I am definitely sick to death of making cookies!! :) I'm very involved with a program at the girls' school called Watch D.O.G.S., and tomorrow night is the big pizza kick-off to launch the program for this school year. As my contribution to the event, I agreed to bake all the cookies for the dessert for everyone.

Yes, I am insane! I started about 3:00 this afternoon, and just finished. I baked over 350 cookies!!! I made oatmeal crispies, oatmeal chocolate chip, and snickerdoodles. Fortunately, I was able to buy the ingredients with Watch D.O.G.S. funds, but I have mixed and shaped and baked and arranged until I don't even want to look at another cookie!

I definitely enjoy baking, and my cookies are, of course, better than anything we could buy at the store, but wow! 350 cookies is a lot to tackle in one day! I sure hope all the dads and kids enjoy them. Next year, I just might think twice about offering my baking services, though! :-)

Now, I think it's time to crash! I have a feeling my dreams tonight will center around cookies!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sometimes Nutrition Goes Out the Window

As a general rule, I plan dinners that have a decent level of nutrition, and a nice balance of food groups. We have a meat, a grain, vegetables and maybe fruits, and often a whole-grain bread. And sometimes we have biscuits or not-so-healthy breads when they are a better accompaniment to the rest of the meal.

But every once in awhile, it's really fun to just toss out the idea of being healthy and just have an off-the-wall, fun kind of dinner. We had one of those tonight. DH has a meeting, where he will be eating pizza. I knew the kids would be sad that they weren't getting pizza, too, so I wanted to give them a meal that would excite them. And maybe I also wanted to be told how cool I am...but that's another issue entirely. :)

So for dinner tonight, we had ham and cheese crustless quiche (they LOVE this) and.....wait for it..........cinnamon rolls!!! Barely a bit of healthy stuff in the entire meal, but it was just so much fun, and they weren't upset at all about missing out on pizza! I let those cinnamon rolls rise for about 2 1/2 hours and they were huge and fluffy and sooooo gooey. Yummmmm!!!!

Another pretty much nutritionally defunct dinner I've made is hamburgers, french fries, and strawberry shakes. Again, they absolutely loved it. And if we had gone out to a fast food place for dinner, isn't there a good chance they would have ordered a very similar meal? At least I know what exactly they were eating by making everything at home!!

So what do you make when you throw nutrition out the window and make a fun family meal? I'm definitely not suggesting that you practice this often, but just every now and again when you just want something different. I'd love to hear some new suggestions, although I'm SURE it will be a long while before I do this again. least a week! ;-)

Monday, September 6, 2010

The "Official" End of Summer

Labor Day. The widely-accepted symbol of the end of summer. The day you're supposed to pack away your white shoes and other "summery" attire. Yeah, I don't do that either! I figure if someone is rude enough to tell me I shouldn't be wearing something at a specific time of year, then they are even more in need of a life than I am. I will pity them. And say bad things about them when they aren't around. But I'll never admit that. Oops. :)

The weather has been changing a bit lately, and it's a welcome change. This was such a miserably hot summer that these days in the low 80s are wonderful. We even have a nice breeze lately, and I told my older daughter today that we need to start taking walks again after dinner. The weather is perfect!

As we move into fall, I know I'm looking forward to making more hearty soups and stews. I can't wait until the scents of pumpkin and cinnamon flow from my kitchen. And then there are the apples. Fall is the season of apples, and it sounds like I will get a nice bounty from my brother's tree this year. The problem is that I freeze apple pie filling and applesauce whenever his tree produces, and right now there is NO room in my freezers. I need to work on that, since he says the tree is ready, and I need to go pick next weekend. I guess menu planning is in order!! I really should get back into that habit. It's after 2 right now, and I still don't know what I'm making for dinner.

What is on your list of fall foods that you can't wait to make again? I definitely am ready for a nice cool day to serve Cheeseburger Soup in sourdough bread bowls. I will soon be buying corn chips to make Frito Chili Pies. I also love to have chicken curry in the cooler months, but haven't managed to sell the kids on eating it yet. Generally, I'm not a spicy cook, but I really like curry. And fall means more baking. It's okay to heat up the kitchen when it's cooler outside, and I love to spend hours in the kitchen creating baked treats. Sadly, we can't make anything for the school parties anymore, but I will still be baking a lot! In fact, this week, I get to make cookies for a Watch D.O.G.S. function. I'm thinking snickerdoodles and oatmeal crispies...yum!

Leave a comment with some of your favorite fall fare. And if you've posted the recipe on your blog, leave a link. I'm always interested in new tried-and-true recipes. Isn't everyone??

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Variety is the Music of the Soul

Okay, maybe not, but it sounds so poetic, doesn't it?? :-)

I was thinking earlier about my vast variety of musical likes, and decided that I had my posting topic for today! I'd love to hear from others if their tastes vary as widely as mine!

To give you an indication of just how wide the spectrum is with me, later this month I am attending a Smashing Pumpkins concert. Woohoo! Next month, I will be seeing Suzy Bogguss live and I couldn't be happier! How's that for some variety??

I would have to say that Suzy is my favorite singer. She is the one I have seen perform many more times than anyone else, and she knows me on sight. We are on a first-name basis, which I cherish. If you don't know who she is, you owe it to yourself to look her up. Her voice is angelic and perfect, and she never ceases to amaze me. I'm thrilled that she is going to be close enough that my friend, Mark, and I are going to be able to go and see her in October.

I definitely have to say that I cannot easily find similarities between Suzy and the Pumpkins. And I can't really say what I like about the Pumpkins, but for whatever reason, I enjoy them. The only other band of that general genre that I like is Bowling for Soup, another out-there oddity for me.

Other groups/singers that you will find in mass quantity on my iPod include Richard Marx and Rick Springfield. I've loved them since my teenage years, and have had the pleasure of seeing both in concert. Rick is actually coming to town this December, but I still haven't found anyone else willing to attend with me. Drat! I've met Rick a couple of times, too, at Meet & Greets; however, he wouldn't know me from anyone!

I'm also partial to 80s hair bands, but I doubt there are many who were teenagers in the 80s who don't like the beloved hair bands! Give me a little Twisted Sister or Motley Crue anytime. :-) But then I enjoy country music, too. I love Brad Paisley, Terry Clark, JoDee Messina, and Reba McEntire and am very fond of Little Big Town and Lady Antebellum. "Need You Now" was my favorite song for quite some time. Sadly, a bad experience ended up tied to the song, and now it's fallen in favor because hearing it upsets me. I hate when things like that happen!!! Why do bad memories happen to good songs??? I'm sure I will eventually get past it and disassociate the memory with the song, but right now, I don't even like hearing the song. That sucks!

So what does your playlist contain? Is it as vast and crazy as mine, or do you stick to a more specific style most of the time? I should probably also admit this....I like Barry Manilow, too! But shhhh!! Don't tell anyone!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

I'm Much Better at Caraoke

No, that isn't a mis-spelling. I consider singing in the car while driving to be "Caraoke." And I love it!! Generally, I caraoke mostly when I'm by myself, but I don't mind terribly if the kids are along for the ride - as long as they don't complain TOO loudly! ;-)

If I've had enough to drink, however, I will caraoke with anyone else in the vehicle. It's just fun, and who cares if you're off-key, especially if you're by yourself (as long as the windows aren't down and you're going completely to town, anyway!)?

But while I love caraoke, I'm still not a huge fan of karaoke, cause I suck at it! Yes, I've done it, and I've been to karaoke bars now more times than I can count; in fact, I'm going to one tonight. I just hate knowing that I am subjecting those poor people in the venue to my terrible singing. Of course, if I think about it, they have probably also had enough to drink that it all sounds fine, anyway!

I used to be able to count the number of times I had been dragged to the karaoke stage on one hand, but I think I've finally gotten past that point. Some of my public highlights.....I know I've done "Jackson" (Johnny Cash) twice, at two different venues. I recorded the second time, and I was mortified at how terrible I sounded - I just HAD to try and pull off a southern accent while singing...*sigh* I've done "Love Shack," also twice, and also at the same two venues, but in each case there were three of us singing. I was made to do "I Love Rock and Roll" with a friend recently, and I know she and I have done at least one other song, but I can't recall what it was.

I've done a bunch of songs at a couple of parties, but I couldn't begin to list them. The one that stands out is "Once Bitten, Twice Shy," mainly because that is just NOT a girl's song! I remember almost laughing out loud at having to sing some of the lines. But at the time, I was the only one in the room who really knew the song, and it's one that I really like....and I'd had a considerable amount of Coke and vodka, too.

I definitely wonder what tonight holds. I'll be there with two people I've known since I was a teen-ager, so I know two things: 1) they aren't going to care if I suck; and 2) because of this, they ARE going to make me sing! At least I know it will be a good time. I can promise one thing....I won't be going up there to sing by myself! The world will never be drunk enough to handle that nightmare!

Hope you have fun plans for this Saturday night!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Let's Just Go with Self-Improvements

September is turning into an interesting month, and it's only the 3rd! I've already blogged that I'm going to post something every day - and everyone knows that once it's out there for all the world to see on a blog, it has to happen...right?

Well, yesterday I decided on something else I want (okay, actually, NEED) to try this month: setting a tight grocery budget and sticking to it! I'm going to TRY to get by on $50 a week because we're pretty well-stocked in the pantry and freezers. These two things are both challenges for me and goals I've set. So what does that make them? Choals, or maybe goanges? Yeah, those just don't work at all! So, hence the subject line...let's just go with self-improvements...or at least an attempt at such!!

I did well yesterday at my quest to keep my groceries on track. I thought I got a LOT for what I spent. I found some awesome deals on canned goods at Hen House with the coupons that I had, and picked up some deals at both Price Chopper and Hy-Vee. I came home with 9 bags of groceries, which included 3 large packages of bone-in chicken breasts and 3 lbs of 93% lean ground beef, as well as 12 cans of veggies, 16 cans of fruit, 3 cans of Spaghettios, 4 quarts of ice cream, a big bag of grapes, bagged salad, 5 lbs. of cheese, and lots of other stuff that I won't bore you by listing, and I spent $50.51. I should have taken a photo, as it was a LOT of food!

So here's hoping I can stick to budget - and stay on the "self-improvement" track. Of course, is it really self-improvement to cut the grocery bill and blog? I guess not, but at least it sounds good!! :-) I may have to see what other goals I can set for the month....or maybe save them for October. It's so hard to believe that we're this close to the end of the year, when things REALLY get crazy! December is in three months! Yikes!!

I hope everyone reading this (if anyone even is these days!) is enjoying the hint of fall in the air and having a goal-centered and self-improving September. If you aren't, then blog about it...and then it HAS to happen...right?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Beverly Hills....

Did you notice the date today? It's 9-02-10, or, as I like to think of it, "90210." Admit it - you remember that show! You probably even watched it, whether you admitted to it or not. It was just one of those shows that everyone could relate to on some level, even if your reason for watching was just to see how ridiculous the story lines could get from week to week!!

I don't remember the show's specifics too well anymore (getting older and all that...), but I definitely recall disliking Brenda, thinking Dylan was someone with whom I would REALLY like getting into trouble, hoping for good things to happen for Kelly, and secretly thinking Brian Austin-Green was adorable!!! To this day, I still don't care much for Shannon Doherty or Tori Spelling, but I smile whenever I see Jennie Garth on something. Funny how silly things like that stay with you sometimes, isn't it?

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you are probably thinking that this is a very bizarre topic for me to be addressing. You're right! But the thing is, I've decided that I want to try and post something, anything, every day in the month of September. And today, while I'm sitting here at the computer, 90210 happened to be on my mind. So I certainly can't promise you that my posts will be interesting, entertaining, or even long, but I am going to make every effort to at least post SOMETHING! And maybe, just maybe, I will get back into my blogging spirit and start spouting such fascinating information that you will be on the edge of your seat, waiting to find out what I have to say.

Hey, a girl can dream.....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I've Created an Over-Achiever!

For awhile now, I've considered my 5th grader to be 10-going-on-16. She's very picky about her hair and clothing and how she carries herself. It's very cute, but can be trying when I can't get her bangs to lay just-so.

The other day, she announced that she was considering joining the 5th grade choir. I was puzzled, as the child cannot sing any better than I can, and believe me when I say that I can't sing!!! So I asked her why in the world she wanted to join Choir. I got "the look," which basically says that I am completely clueless. Seriously, shouldn't I have a few more years until I start getting that look???

Do you know what my sweet daughter told me was her rationale? "Mom," she said, sounding all grown up. "I have to start thinking about my extra-curricular activities for when I fill out my applications to Yale and Harvard." could I have missed THAT?!? Of course....what else could it possibly be????

Oh, and I probably never mentioned that she fully intends to attend an Ivy-League school on scholarship. That's just the way it's going to be.

Is my daughter merely an over-achiever? Is there even a word for someone who puts that term to shame? This girl has big dreams....and she shows no signs of backing down. She's absolutely amazing!! :-)